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The Joy Of Compassionate Parenting

by Vidya Sury January 22, 2013 43 comments
Compassionate Parenting Vidya Sury

As a parent, I tend to view my life as a two-phase thing. BV and V. Before Vidur and Vidur. Such is the transformation a baby brings. I fondly recall the day when I discovered I was pregnant. I remember literally bursting with joy and we couldn’t wait to tell my Mom. We rushed to the nearest phone (those were non-cellphone days) and called her with the exciting news. Of course, she was totally delighted and we began counting the days for her to join us.

I couldn’t wait to get her flight booking done. Soon after, we brought her to live with us and together we looked forward to the arrival of our angel. I still remember how much we laughed over Mom’s first-ever trip by air!

Anyway, fast forward a few months, and Vidur chose a Sunday to step into this world – and our lives changed forever at the sight of this serene little guy whose hands always seemed to hold the “cincihna mudra” (understanding) or “jnana mudra” (knowledge) or “Dharmachakra Mudra” (teaching) most of the time, fascinating us all. (More about Mudras here).  We had people coming in to see him and wondered what was up. Turns out they were Sai Baba devotees as his birthday is on the same day.

Vidur was the most delightful baby and the neighbors would complain that they never heard him cry.  He brought infinite happiness into our lives. Ah, happy memories.

I enjoy being Vidur’s mom. I think he has helped me grow as an individual with his simple and wonderful logic.  I think I’ve learned most of my parenting skills from him. Most notably, compassionate parenting.  We are all softies of varying degrees in our house and we are fine with it. We believe that love conquers all.

The secret is compassionate parenting

It is amazing how different the world looks when we let go of negative thinking or defensive responses when things don’t go as we would like.  I have learned to love the surprises that parenting brings. Most of all, I appreciate my son, because, to repeat a cliche, it is just as challenging to bring up good parents, as good children!

Did I have a role model? Of course, yes. My Mom. The first thing I learned from her was communication. Rather than say “Don’t do this….” I say “Please do this..” and appreciate it when he finishes it. We don’t shout in our house and it is not because we don’t feel like it. It is just that we choose not to. We prefer to control ourselves and handle things calmly when we’ve simmered down. This has helped us respect each others’ feelings and trust one another.

When it comes right down to brass tacks, at the end of the day, all we want is a happy child in a happy family.

Of course, we hug as often as we can and say “I love you” every day and we laugh together. A lot.

In my latest post over at Parentous, I chose to write about compassionate parenting because it is easy to preach what I practice.

The joy of compassionate parenting

In general, being compassionate helps us to be happier individuals. Parenting is no different. Showing compassion promotes better relationships with our children, as we enjoy them, steer them in the right direction and of course – learn from them! There are many specific benefits in the form of cultivating cooperative children, building their self-esteem and confidence while lowering their tendency towards negative behavior.

Best of all, children with compassionate parents grow up to be emotionally strong and happy. Now if that is not a great outcome, I don’t know what is.

Being compassionate

Compassion is not about allowing children to do whatever they want. It is not about letting them get away with anything they do. What it does mean is getting deeper into the child’s behavior to understand what prompted a certain behavior. If the child is throwing a tantrum, it is about finding out why and enabling her to get a grip on her behavior so that she can control her impulses.

Naturally, one might argue that this is not the most perfect way to parent – but then, there is no such thing as a perfect parent. Perfection is highly subjective. I certainly make mistakes in the things I say or do when it comes to my son – and of course, the 20/20 hindsight happens much later. Happily, children are quite immune to the mistakes we make, because they love their parents unconditionally.

What I have discovered by practicing compassion

I have learned that anything that is said positively brings on the desired outcome. That does not mean it is wrong to get angry, irritated, annoyed or mad. After all, even parents are human!

The important thing is the way we express ourselves. In our house, we do not shout. It is a conscious decision we remind ourselves of, whenever we feel like raising our voices. Oh yes, we feel like shouting, but we don’t. We calm down, control ourselves and practice being calm.

Over time, this has become a habit – and the excellent side benefit is less stress. The best part is, on the rare occasions we have to pull up our son (boys will be boys), he takes it in a positive spirit. On the other hand, if we are nasty or say things negatively, there is resistance. And we’re careful not to do that since we do not want him to learn that might is right.

Some tips to practice compassion


We all know how vital this is. It is all part of constant communication with our children to know them, bond with them, and cherish them.


Whenever my son comes up with a problem, we talk it through, exploring possibilities and invariably, he also comes up with a solution. Just expressing himself lightens the load quite a bit, allowing him to see it from the outside. I try my best to ask questions that will enable him to reach an acceptable way to resolve the situation. Also, by the time we’ve finished, he has also found ways to tackle it better next time.


Oh, sending them to school is a given. When he was young, we tried to buy toys that help learn something or develop a skill. One of his most favorite pastimes was jigsaw puzzles, besides music, sketching and general knowledge books. We stay in tune with his interests. In the last three years, he has been leaning more and more towards science and math, while taking the time to enjoy his other hobbies.

Being responsive

We make it a point to spend half an hour on the terrace every evening or during our evening walk to share our day – both good and bad. It sets a positive tone for the rest of the evening and ensures going to bed peacefully.

Being affectionate

I am blessed with a tactile and affectionate child and I am very grateful for the wonderful relationship we share. Happy children are usually affectionate. Happiness stems from being loved. Compassion facilitates this process.

Being a loving parent is not difficult. I like to compare it to smiling. When we smile, people involuntarily smile back. Well, most people do. When we’re kind and loving, our children find us easier to approach.

Question for you:

What is one special moment with your family that brings an instant smile?


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Angela Artemis|Powered by Intuition January 23, 2013 at 12:31 am

What a wonderful approach to parenting. I can see that you have a very deep relationship to you son too and that you had a terrific role model – your mother.
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Vidya Sury January 25, 2013 at 4:00 am

Thank you, dear Angela! I am grateful that I had a loving family to grow up in, even if I did not know my father. Sometimes, weirdly, I think I was lucky that way!

Vidya Sury recently posted…Original Blogs Are Happy Blogs

Evelyn Lim January 23, 2013 at 2:16 am

I didn’t realize that your son is so tall! Kids certainly have a way of shooting up these days.

It is great that you have a role model. I can see that it has helped you decide on how you would like to bring up your son. Your son is very lucky to have you! And you are lucky to have your son and mum of course!
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Vidya Sury January 25, 2013 at 4:02 am

Evelyn, he shot up suddenly a couple of years ago! And then seems to have stopped. 🙂

Perhaps because she was a single parent, my Mom always treated me as a friend, although she never let me get away with anything I shouldn’t have. Love always supervised all her actions and yes, I am very lucky. I fondly remember how I used to keep telling her that in her next birth, she should be my daughter. 🙂

Thank you for coming over. Hugs!
Vidya Sury recently posted…Let Go A Little

Keetha January 23, 2013 at 3:10 am

I remember well the moment when they first laid Keri, our firstborn whom you have “met” through blogging, in my arms. NOTHING feels like that – – – not even the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th babies as they are laid in your arms. They brought special joys all their own, but the first one was just such a miracle.
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Vidya Sury January 25, 2013 at 4:05 am

Keetha, what a beautiful moment that must have been! I always joyfully recall Vidur’s birth. Almost 16 hours of labor later, he grandly arrived in this world and was delivered into my arms a couple of hours later (cesarean). I’ll never forget that particular moment when I set eyes on him, looking so vulnerable, yet strong and my bosom involuntarily surged with love. There, I can’t see for the tears of joy now!

Hugs. Keri is a beautiful person and you’re a blessed Mom!
Vidya Sury recently posted…When Children Need Freedom From Stress

Harleena Singh January 23, 2013 at 3:27 am

Loved it Vidya!

Always a pleasure to see you with Vidur, especially right from the time when he was a kid to what he’s become now…they grow tall and we look short 🙂

Yes indeed, it all does come down to compassionate parenting, and just like you, my Mom’s been my role model always. Till date, I remember and follow all that she taught, though I don’t think I can ever become like her – I leave that special place for her. 🙂

Being with my kid’s and seeing them happy makes me smile – can’t ask for anything more. 🙂

Thanks for sharing 🙂
Harleena Singh recently posted…7 Things to Tell Your Children About The Purpose in Life

Vidya Sury January 25, 2013 at 4:13 am

🙂 Harleena, I don’t look short. I AM short at barely 5’3″.

We’re lucky to have had our Moms. And because I work from home, to me, it seems that my Mom is with me every day.

Yes, the sun shines brighter for me, when my son smiles! Thank you for your lovely comment, Harleena!
Vidya Sury recently posted…Original Blogs Are Happy Blogs

Cathy Taughinbaugh January 23, 2013 at 4:43 am

Beautiful post Vidya. You are such a great example of a kind and patient mother. That is wonderful that you had your mom with you to share the joy. Great example of a loving family. Thank you for sharing.

Vidya Sury January 25, 2013 at 4:23 am

Cathy, I am indeed fortunate I had my Mom. Even more so, that Sury and she got along so very well. Blessed is how I feel! Thank you!
Vidya Sury recently posted…Original Blogs Are Happy Blogs

Victor January 23, 2013 at 3:50 am


I hadn’t heard the words “compassionate parenting” before, but boy, that sure sums up my desired philosophy with my parenting! It’s not easy, especially when children test you and don’t want to listen. The compassion wears a bit thin! 🙂 You’re absolutely right, however — having a child really changes you, and when you are compassionate as a parent, it really can rub off on your children. Just listening to my little Brianna and her stories of social situations at school, I can tell she is learning compassionate ways to mediate potential issues. You can’t beat that. Thanks for the wonderful message! 🙂
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Vidya Sury January 25, 2013 at 4:15 am

Victor, love your comment!

The best part of being compassionate is, when either of us gets irritated, one is always ready to hug and help laugh it off. Yes, it rubs off on the children and I love how they endorse the “Child is father of the man” phrase!

I’ve read some of the stories you’ve shared about Brianna – ah, enjoy them as much as you can – they grow up too quickly!

Vidya Sury recently posted…Original Blogs Are Happy Blogs

Mayura January 23, 2013 at 11:15 am

Hi Vidya,

Really nice to see moments of your life and now I can define your profile much better in my mind 😉 I can see myself and my thoughts run to old family moments of mine too. Actually, the photos as I don’t remember much 😉

Hmm… Vidya, Vidur and Vidur 😉 A VVV project… Cool, eh?

I wonder what my mother would say if she’s expressive like you dear 🙂 But I love my mom more than anything, yeah even more than my girlie. Hey don’t spread the word, you my sweet and calm friend 😀 lol…

Really?! You had a short hair? 🙂 Now you are much better though 😉 (Alright, be cool ;)) Enough about hair now. But let me ask you this now. What life you prefer the most? Before your son joins your family or after that? 🙂

I dream big of my future life with more family time Vidya. One reason I don’t wanna go for a day job. Well, let’s figure it out. I wanna show the same for everyone ~ Love conquers all 🙂 For those who do and don’t believe in that.

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Vidya Sury January 25, 2013 at 4:28 am

🙂 Thanks, Mayura. You always put a smile on my face! One of my favorite pastimes is to go through old photo albums – I love the rush of memories that follows.

I am sure your Mom will have wonderful things to say! Just get her started about how you were born! 🙂 Moms love telling that story!

Hey, I thought the short hair looked cool on me! But yes, I too prefer longer – easier to manage!

What do I prefer most? I love both equally – before Vidur and Vidur. One couldn’t exist without the other!

Mayura, I’ve always considered family priority and never regretted it. I wish you an excellent life ahead!

Vidya Sury recently posted…Original Blogs Are Happy Blogs

Elle January 23, 2013 at 12:54 pm

Compassionate parenting sounds as though it works for both child and parents Vidya. The joy you have in being a Mum overflows through your writing – and whether one has children or not, feeling your joy makes our world a better place.

Thank you for being you.

Love Elle
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Vidya Sury January 25, 2013 at 5:23 am

Elle, I felt as though I received a giant hug! Thank you! I have learned that compassion works in all relationships, even more so in the parent-child equation.

Thank you. Love you, too!
Vidya Sury recently posted…Original Blogs Are Happy Blogs

Debbie January 23, 2013 at 3:59 pm

I like that Vidya, ‘compassinate parenting’. Isn’t that what love is all about compassion understanding.

And when it comes to parenting we need to understand those little ones (big ones too)because there are times they help up grow into a better person and parent.

There are many moment that I remember with each of my 3 girls. One that always stands out is when my second daughter was born. She was very small even though full term (4 pounds,2 oz) and she came out feet first. i already had a daughter and was really wanting a boy. However when she was born and didn’t make a sound (which seemed like forever) My heart stopped and there was no disappointment of her being another girl. I was just over joyed that she was alive and healthy.

Thank you for sharing some of your life.

Vidya Sury February 4, 2013 at 6:46 am

Hi Debbie! Must have been such a glorious moment! You know I almost felt like God when I held my son for the first time. I marveled that I had actually brought a human being into this world. I love how these memories always make us feel good, even if the actual physical experience was less than perfect.

Hugs and thanks for sharing your memorable moment!
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Terri Sonoda January 23, 2013 at 5:32 pm

Oh what gorgeous photos! I believe as you, Vidya. There’s no room for negativity in parenting. Showing love every day in many ways makes for a happy home. Enjoy every hug my friend! They grow up so fast. My sons are grown and have their own lives, but every chance I get….I grab me a hug. Nothing like being a Mom!
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Vidya Sury February 4, 2013 at 6:43 am

Dearest Terri, I love what you said about “Showing love every day in many ways” and I try to live by that. I know you are a fabulous Mom – and a wonderful person. I am blessed to have you in my life. Hugs!
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My Inner Chick January 23, 2013 at 6:04 pm

You are SOoooooo beautiful, Vidya.

(((Vidur’s Mom!))) How blessed you both are.

Love you more than dove chocolate, siamese cats & 5 white tigers! Xxxxxx
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Vidya Sury February 4, 2013 at 6:34 am

Hugs, Kim! I am blessed, indeed, to have family and friends I love and adore. Love you more than the entire stock of 500 gram dark chocolate bars at the supermarket!
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Sandi Amorim January 23, 2013 at 6:30 pm

Oh Vidya, I love that photo of you in your red sneakers! And to hear your journey as a mother was precious. Thank you for sharing. xoS
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Vidya Sury February 4, 2013 at 6:32 am

🙂 Thank you, Sandi! Sadly, I’ll have to say goodbye to those sneakers as they’re becoming unwearable! 😀 Got a new pair though!
Vidya Sury recently posted…The Power Of Positive Thinking

Ariadne January 23, 2013 at 4:48 pm

What a lovely post and I agree wholeheartedly that compassionate parenting is amazing for children and parents alike. In our family we strive towards cooperation and compassion daily and there are so many precious moments…simply wonderful!

Vidya Sury February 4, 2013 at 6:44 am

Hi Ariadne! (what a pretty name! Reminds me of fairy tales). Yes, compassion makes for many precious moments. Thank you for your lovely words.
Vidya Sury recently posted…The Power Of Positive Thinking

Jodi @ Heal Now January 23, 2013 at 10:02 pm

I have so close to my kids lately. I love my hugs and cuddles. I am all for compassion, I think heal their upset and then teach. Their worth benefits immensely! Thanks Vidya, what a cute Mama you are. love reading about you!
<3 Jodi
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Vidya Sury February 4, 2013 at 6:31 am

Thank you, dear Jodi!
Vidya Sury recently posted…The Power Of Positive Thinking

Ken Wert@MeanttobeHappy January 24, 2013 at 4:12 am

Loved the read. Loved the photos. Love the concept of compassionate parenting. I especially appreciated the idea that sometimes you feel like yelling, but choose not to.

What a different way to be raised from the norm! And what a blessed home you have created, one that is conducive to happiness. Thanks so much for the example, Vidya! Simply beautiful.
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Vidya Sury February 4, 2013 at 6:30 am

I try my best, Ken. Thanks so much for your lovely comment! I am always amazed at how much children can teach us by their pure and simple logic. To take it a step forward and adultify it a little is not so hard 😀
Vidya Sury recently posted…The Power Of Positive Thinking

Mrs CAROLYN DANIELLE HUGHES January 24, 2013 at 12:17 pm

Your post oozes with compassion and love as a mother and from your mother. A wonderful read Vidya 🙂
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Vidya Sury February 4, 2013 at 6:28 am

Thank you, Carolyn!
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Pattu January 24, 2013 at 2:36 pm

Oh Vidya, such sweet pictures, and he if growing up fast!.

A lovely post , written from the heart , and felt in the heart by all of us mothers.
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Pattu January 24, 2013 at 2:37 pm

Ooops, ” is ” to replace “if” in growing up! Thanks.
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Vidya Sury February 4, 2013 at 6:27 am

🙂 Yes, it seems like only yesterday that I was a little nervous to hold him as a five day old baby, Pattu. It has been a wonderful journey though! Thank you!
Vidya Sury recently posted…The Power Of Positive Thinking

Rachna January 24, 2013 at 3:48 pm

Vidya, a beautiful post. I truly loved it. And especially enjoyed seeing Vidur’s pictures. I can sense that happiness and calm emanating from your persona. God Bless the both of you!
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Vidya Sury February 4, 2013 at 6:26 am

Thank you so much, Rachna!
Vidya Sury recently posted…The Power Of Positive Thinking

Paige | Simple Mindfulness January 25, 2013 at 3:36 am

I love the pictures of you and Vidur! Funny – I frequently refer to time as BK (before kids) or now.

Chris (my husband) was telling me that yesterday he was uncharacteristically tired and, as a result, was snapping at the kids. He said that Cody, our 8 yr. old, looked at him and asked, “Dad! What’s wrong with you today?” Chris smiled, hugged Cody and apologized to him. I have to say that I’ve done the same when I’ve been very tired or stressed. As soon as I see that I’m upsetting the kids, to no fault of their own, I quickly relax, give them a big hug and apologize. This helps them to understand things and not take our actions personally.

Being compassionate with our kids and ourselves makes a world of difference.

I can definitely see the peace and compassion in Vidur’s eyes.

Big Hugs to you Sis!
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Vidya Sury February 4, 2013 at 6:22 am

I love that children remind us of what we tried teaching them in the first place, Paige! I do exactly as you do. Thanks for your kind words! Hugs!
Vidya Sury recently posted…The Power Of Positive Thinking

Unknown Mami January 27, 2013 at 6:50 pm

You have taught me wuite a bit about parenting. Right now, Put Pie is teaching me some major lessons about compassion. Sometimes it takes me awhile to learn.
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Vidya Sury February 4, 2013 at 6:20 am

We are, after all, human, Claudya. 🙂 But children make such great teachers!
Vidya Sury recently posted…The Power Of Positive Thinking

Divya January 28, 2013 at 10:08 am

Hi Vidya, beautiful sentiments that all mothers experience but can hardly express so openly. Loved your frankness. My daughter chose to came into this world on my birthday, and it was a normal delivery. After 17 hrs of labour, when I held her, I knew this was what I was waiting for my entire life. It was as if my life had come to a full circle. Now she is 17 mths old and her own person in terms of likes and dislikes. But I am a short-tempered person, and in moments of anger, I do hit her (though I say sorry and hug her afterwards). My little baby cries but then comes to me only for solace. I usually read this blog humptybumptykids.com who give good parenting advice. After reading one of their articles on child hitting, that I have now minimized scolding and hitting my child. Do share your thoughts on it.

Vidya Sury February 4, 2013 at 6:18 am

Thank you, Divya for your comment. I liked the site you mentioned – seems full of great tips.

Hitting is a no-no in my book, Divya. I prefer to stick to the loving and cuddling. 🙂 Being stern sometimes is necessary and children usually listen when we talk to them. One of my son’s favorite phrases would be “I want to talk to you” – he loved hearing that and would immediately come and sit down. 🙂
Vidya Sury recently posted…The Power Of Positive Thinking


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